Tag Archives: environment art

Nu-Moat

catacombs_mill_bridge

The centerpiece of the third level solidified enough to commit to a layout. I’ve been wanting to do this earlier, but changes in the storyline / in the main questline kept popping up so it was pretty hard to visualize the whole thing.

This used to be the moat area of RMQ e1m3rq. Suffice to say, it changed a lot. There are now two faction camps and a boss fight in there. Various cutscenes are also set in this area.

I’ll probably be able to reuse some of the dungeon areas from the RMQ map, but the centerpiece just wasn’t good enough, similar to the outside area from the second level.

I won’t be able to block this in with BSP brushes, so I guess it’ll be done completely in Blender. I did use BSP for the Temple area when I made that, but brushes have reached the end of their usefulness here.

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Thumbnails

thumb_fortress

I’m practicing this way of doing environment sketches… just values, then sketchy ink, then more values. I don’t like this look a terrible lot, it’s too comicky for my taste, but I haven’t quite found something better than the ink. I’ll have to create my own brushes.

The above thumbnail sketch is of the Fortress level in Scout’s Journey, which originated from Remake Quake (e1m5) but changed a lot since then.

thumb2

I think I did this one in GIMP to check out some different brushes. I’m really preferring GIMP Paint Studio to Mypaint for painting now, because Mypaint can’t use textured brushes and GIMP has selection and masking tools, which do come in handy once in a while. Mypaint has some very cool semi-realistic markers that I’m using a lot, though (Concept Design set.)

thumb1a

This one was done in Mypaint, I’m pretty sure.

I’m reading “How to Draw” by Scott Robertson, which is a pretty crazy book. It teaches you how to construct things in perspective and a number of other things. Specifically I like his way of sketching, so I tried to do somethng similar.

I even cracked open my art box and found some old gouache and acrylic paint tubes, and played around with those and a few other media. It was fun. Paper allows you to work so much more precisely… digital painting always includes some amount of fudgery.

It is true that you can get a lot of good advice from Youtube tutorials, but certain top-level art books can probably teach you more, IMHO. I had mixed feelings about the Scott Robertson book initially from the Amazon reviews, but man, this book is a bringer. Some sentences or examples took me several minutes to understand, but it does all make perfect sense. It’s like geometry class in school, only a lot more weird and your teacher is a monster artist.

Don’t think you can get all knowledge from youtube, books still are the best medium to teach really deep stuff, and sometimes there’s no way around that.


Better tablet support in Blender

blender275

Blender 2.75 RC2 contains a bugfix that allows for fly mode with a graphics tablet. Fly mode is especially neat for environment artists because it lets you traverse large models quickly and precisely, much like “noclipping” in an engine.

Previously, the view would spin uncontrollably.

I’m slowly getting into working in Blender with a tablet instead of a mouse – I use a Wacom for all my PC work now – and after some initial finding my feet, it works very nicely.

I’m convinced that a tablet is a much more ergonomic input device compared to a mouse, my wrist feels a lot better since I started doing this anyway.

You can get this version of Blender here.


It will rub the lotion…

herdbase_modular_substitute

Managed to put in some time today despite still being sick with anemia. Working in 50 minute blocks.

Still going through this level and painstakingly putting in modular elements where the brushwork used to be. Pink is former BSP, white is my new pieces. (Pic taken in Blender.)

Not terribly entertaining, it’s rather work of the “has to be done” sort. It’ll be pretty once it’s all done and in Unreal. Painful but worth it.

I’ll be able to do most of this level in the same fashion. With the next one, I’m going to use a better conversion process that doesn’t generate any triangle mess in the first place. This part is also by far the most modular one of the Herdbase sections. The other two use a lot of simple concrete slabs, which won’t need so much redoing. The final Herdbase part uses largely terrain, which is gonna be fun. After that, the temple dungeons are largely modular AND they already use a lot of meshes. That’s gonna be a lot less painful.

OK, three work units done now. Let’s make it a routine again. There’s always hope.


Friends in Unlikely Places

map2obj_q4

Found a better way to transfer .map to .obj after reading the tip somewhere on quake3world.com. Instead of q3map2 one loads the map into Q4Radiant (of all things) and then simply select everything and export selected as .obj.

map2obj_q3map2

This is the q3map2 version – as we saw before, it looks like a shattered mirror. The geometry of the version exported from Quake 4 (upper image) is very clean, and a single “tris to quads” in Blender gives you a workable mesh.

This will save me a huge amount of time.

In theory, this also means that you can easily map in Radiant and export to Unity. You just need Quake 4.

Currently still looking at engines, not decided yet. It can be done in both Unity and UE4 though, I’m sure.


Speak Friend and enter

magicstuff

Jumping, shooting and collecting loot is all well and good, but in Scout’s Journey, the stakes are higher than that.

I haven’t talked about this part of the core gameplay mechanics much, although they’re basically functional. Let’s just say this magic stuff has something to do with winning the game.

My first attempt at a magic circle looked a terrible lot like something out of some popular action RPG. I think this slightly more mature replacement is much closer to what Scout’s Journey is about. Drawing these kinds of textures is immensely fun.

So in a way, here’s a look past the locks and bolts into the heart of the game.


Blender: Sculpting new floor tiles

newconcrete_sculpt

Blender’s Sculpt mode is great to create textures, among other things. I’ve recently done a work-over of a couple Herdbase textures, and I grew tired of my photosourced floor tiles. So I did this.

newconcrete1

I mean, this is so much better! Textures created in Blender tend to beat photosourced ones hands down. The only photos in there are a basic concrete structure and a few grungemaps. The basis was a normal and AO map sculpted and baked in Blender, though.

newconcrete2

Here’s one with a different concrete structure in there, same base though.

I get the feeling I’ll sculpt a couple more textures to replace photosourced ones.

The mesh was first modelled with a subdivision modifier, then I switched to a multires modifier and sculpted on that (brush, clay, scrape, flatten, smooth). I used a pressure-sensitive tablet for sculpting. I topped it off by disturbing the creases a little using the Nudge brush.